The following Code of Conduct is our best effort to create a space where everyone can feel both free and safe, so that International OpenCon Catalonia (IOCC) will be as enriching, enjoyable and inspiring as possible.
These guidelines come from our experience at various poly events, both as participants and as organisers.
International OpenCon Catalonia Ethos
IOCC is a space where people with any degree of interest or experience in ethical open relationships can safely share, learn and connect with like-minded individuals. By “ethical open relationships” we refer to intimate relationships based on a foundation of mutual trust that does not require sexual or sentimental exclusivity.
We found our work on the principles of respect, inclusiveness regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and non-patriarchy as we consider these concepts essential for a healthy non-monogamous culture to thrive.
IOCC is not a sex event: we have no problem with those sorts of events—we just want to run something different. So please keep any behaviour within the bounds of what is acceptable in public. This applies to all workshops as well as to the leisure time during the meeting. And it applies to all common spaces indoors (e.g. dinning room) as well as outdoors (e.g., garden, swimming pool). For us as organizers, creating a safe space for all participants is more important than supporting sex-positivity.
Naturally, we have no opinion about what happens in private spaces (rooms, dorms, apartments), as long as is among consenting adults, and subject to the agreement of all people sleeping in that space.
We expect that every IOCC participant’s personal space, consent and agency will be respected at all times. Of course, boundaries are different for each person. We therefore strongly encourage all participants to be careful and respectful when approaching another participant’s space, and in particular when:
- Hugging, caressing or touching their body in any way;
- Inviting them to engage in sensual or sexual activities;
- Engaging them in conversations on sensitive topics;
- Exposing them to live or recorded acts of a sexual, violent or otherwise explicit nature;
- Joining in or watching when they are being intimate with others;
- Asking them to reveal details about their private life.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list and it necessarily leaves many concepts, such as “sensitive”, “intimate”, “private”, open to interpretation. Therefore we cannot stress enough the importance of communication and active listening. Please remember that everyone has their own way of saying “no” and many people have trouble giving an explicit, firm negative answer: as a general rule assume that everything that is not an enthusiastic “yes” actually means “no”.
If another participant declines an invitation to participate with you in any way, repeated requests are considered a violation of their consent and stated boundaries.
Finally, please bear in mind that a person’s past consent to a certain activity should not be taken as an implicit acceptance of their future participation in the same activity.
Polyamory is still a delicate issue in many social environments and polyamorists disclosing their lifestyle may be subject to severe consequences. As a result, we feel a strong obligation to defend the privacy of all our participants and their rights:
- Not to be photographed or recorded in any way without prior consent;
- To keep any or all personal information (name, address, contact details, etc.) private;
- Not to have the content of conversations and workshops communicated to other participants or disclosed by any means outside the event.
Naturally, participants’ consent can override the above rules, but please ask for it explicitly case by case and do not take it for granted.
Responsibility and awareness
We will all be adults at the meeting, so each of us is ultimately responsible for our own health and safety (in case we become ill or have an accident) and civic liability (in case we break something or someone). So think about checking if you are covered by insurance (e.g., associated with your bank card), and if not consider getting travel insurance. If coming from an EU country, remember to bring your European Health Insurance Card. If travelling alone, feel free to give the organisers the contact of someone we should reach in case of an emergency affecting you.
During the meeting, pay attention to yourself and to the other participants to make sure everybody is going well. Ask for support if you need it, and offer support to others if you think they need it. We are collectively responsible for creating a safe and welcoming environment.
Be mindful that there are different levels of English fluency among the participants, which creates a communication advantage for those who are more fluent. When people are expressing their emotions and feelings (as they often do in IOCC) it is even more difficult not being able to do so in one’s native tongue. So be empathetic and patient towards others with less fluency than you, giving them sufficient time to express themselves. If you speak multiple languages, consider helping with on-the-spot translation of a particular concept or idea if needed. And remember to speak clearly, not-too-fast, and avoiding jargon or too culturally-specific references to ensure that others can understand you.
Conversely, remember that English is the only language common to all the participants in the meeting. All workshops should therefore be in English, to ensure that all participants can participate. But even outside workshops, please make an effort to always speak in a language that can be understood by all the people present, to avoid creating language-specific groups that exclude other participants.
You need a clear mind at all times to respect this Code of Conduct, so be responsible in the consumption of alcohol and avoid any substances that may impair your judgement.
What to do if the Code of Conduct is not respected
If you feel that someone is breaking the Code of Conduct in any way, please point it out to them, if you feel comfortable doing so. If that does not stop them (or you are unwilling / unable to do so), then talk to one of the event organisers. We will immediately talk to that person and politely ask them to stop.
We reserve the right to ask a participant to leave IOCC immediately if we believe that a serious code of conduct violation has occurred, or if we consider that they are a threat to the well-being of other participants. In that case, no refund will be offered.
We reserve the right to refuse the registration to an IOCC of anyone who has not respected the Code of Conduct in a previous meeting.